Originally created 03/08/06

ABC's Woodruff recovering, able to speak, starting to walk



NEW YORK - Five weeks after ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff was seriously injured in an Iraqi explosion, he remains hospitalized but is able to say a few words and is starting to walk, his brother said Tuesday.

"In the last couple of days, he's taken a lot of great leaps forward," David Woodruff said. "He's definitely doing so much better."

Bob Woodruff and ABC cameraman Doug Vogt were standing in the hatch of an Iraqi mechanized vehicle, reporting on the war from the Iraqi troops' perspective, when the roadside bomb exploded Jan. 29. Both were wearing body armor, which doctors say likely saved their lives.

The men underwent surgery in Germany before being flown to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Woodruff, 44, is still on heavy pain medication as his body recovers from the serious head injuries and other wounds. But he recognizes people, he can tell his daughter he loves her, and the multilingual journalist has even said a few words in Chinese and German, his brother David Woodruff told ABC's "Good Morning America."

The first response David Woodruff recalls getting from his brother in the hospital was a smile when he told him: I hate to tell you this, but you still have a face for TV.

"My brother's been an overachiever his entire life. I think none of us expected him to do anything less in this whole process," David Woodruff said. "We know that top on his mind is getting back to his family, to his kids and getting back to doing what he loves to do."

Vogt left Bethesda Medical Center in late February and returned home to France, where he is undergoing rehabilitation, the network said.

Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer have been substituting for Woodruff, who started as co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" with Elizabeth Vargas earlier this year.

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